RealNews

Perils face US rescue in Colombia

The US brings high technology to the ongoing search for three Americans, but local intelligence is key. Monsignor Jorge Jiménez was terrified when armed guerrillas forced him out of his car and began a long march that wouldn’t end for five days. Prior to three weeks ago, when three Americans were abducted after their plane went down in the Colombian jungle, Father Jiménez, president of the Latin American Episcopal Bishops Conference, and Father Desiderio Orjuelo were the last high-profile kidnapping victims of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They were abducted on Nov. 11, 2002, while driving to San Antonio de Aguilera, about an hour outside of the capital, to perform confirmations. Jiménez said the guerrillas made them hike through the jungle night after night, sometimes as many as six or seven hours. They slept on the floor in cambuches, or make-shift huts. But Jiménez and Fr. Orjuelo’s story had a happy outcome. Five days after their kidnapping, they were rescued in a military dragnet involving 800 members of the police, Army, rapid-deployment forces, counter-guerrilla battalions, and intelligence agents. They found the priests just 15 miles from the original abduction site, protected by only seven guerrillas. “It was an instant,” says Jiménez of the rescue, explaining he was too dazed to realize what was happening, “then we were in the hands of the Army.” Full Story

OODA Analyst

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